Press release: New resource to help churches deal with abuse of power

PRESS RELEASE: Abuse of power in church leadership needs a healthy culture and a biblically-faithful process for dealing with wrong behaviour

Ministry leaders from various conservative evangelical groups across the UK have started to develop a resource for churches to help them in the complex area of what some have called “spiritual abuse” or “pastoral malpractice''.

Gathered together by Affinity, a network of gospel churches, the group is aiming to produce a guide to help churches assess and respond to abuse allegations. It will suggest robust processes to ensure that allegations are taken seriously and addressed properly by the local church and that everyone involved in a culture of caring for one another.

Graham Nicholls, Director of Affinity said:

“Recent high-profile cases of allegations against church leaders have reminded us that unbiblical and abusive behaviour can take place in a church of any denomination. Such allegations of pastoral malpractice should be dealt with in a way that is honouring to Christ, theologically faithful, legally compliant and pastorally caring and competent.

“It is our hope that this resource will help churches to deal compassionately and biblically with allegations of abuse, adopting processes that are fair to both the victim and the accused.

“We want to equip the local church to care wisely for God’s people in these complex situations and hope this work will be widely used by evangelical churches.”

The project will draw on expertise from Affinity members around the country, also including in the group safeguarding professionals and those with experience in ministry to trauma victims. The finished work will be a practical guide that articulates a biblical theology of leadership, as well as helping churches to think about healthy cultures and processes.

Graham added:

“We want to help individual churches to engage with pastoral malpractice wisely when allegations are first made. Of course, there are times when instructing a third party to assess allegations of abuse is the right thing to do, but it is our hope that this guide will assist churches to make wise decisions.”

Affinity plans to complete the project and launch it to churches by the end of 2021.


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